2022 was the first time I ran an entire year without injury. Over 1,200 miles or 23 miles/week on average and not a single scheduled run missed. I credit this to the slow progressive training plans I followed in the Daniel’s Running Formula. They’re great. But this year, I plan to double my mileage and cut my 5k time down even further. What is Daniel’s Running Formula? How am I using it to plan my second year of running? And how has this training translated to my goal of health excellence? Well, let’s get into it!
Daniel’s Running Formula
Daniel’s Running Formula is one of the best training books available. It details everything from running form and technique to training intensities and breaks. I bought the fourth edition last March and wrote about it in more detail here: I’m Using VDOT to Plan a Year of Running. I couldn’t put it down. It was the first time I understood all the intricacies of running and how to plan for progress without risking injury. It got me excited to train again.
I immediately put this knowledge into action by starting his Red Intermediate Plan. Each plan is four months long and is broken down into one-month phases. And the pacing of your plan is determined by your previous race time. My initial 5k race estimate was 20 minutes which gave me a VDOT of 50. So, I used that to complete the Red Plan in April, May, June, and July of last year. At times I felt overtrained, especially as it got hotter outside in July. Besides that, and faint signs on shin splints, I pushed on and finished the Red Plan with a 5k time of 19:26.
In August, I took the next step by starting the Blue Advanced Plan. This plan bumps up from about 25miles/week to 40miles/week. The amount of time I spent running each week increased too. I was running for an hour, 5 days a week. Plus, 15-minute warm-ups and 15-minute cool-downs. It was a lot, but I loved it. I was getting faster, leaner, and more conditioned without injury. Probably the best shape of my life. After completing this plan in August, September, October and November, it was race time again. How far had I come? Drum roll pleaseeeeeeeee… On December 10th, I finished my running season with a PR of 18:20. Let’s gooo! That’s the progress I’m looking for! What a great way to end the year. And after that I spent the remaining two weeks of December on a training break, not running but continuing to row and lift. After months of hard training, I figured a short break was best for optimizing recovery. But I was excited to get back into it.
Year 2 Running Plan
This year, I started 2023 with two weeks of easy runs to get back into shape. Now I’m rerunning the Blue Advanced plan. I’m using an updated VDOT of 55 for pacing so everything is faster. I’ll be doing this for January, February, March, and April. I’m planning a 5k at that point which I’m hoping will be under 18 minutes. I’ve found it difficult to predict my race time in advance but I like putting my predictions in writing so I can look back at them later.
If everything goes as planned, I’ll upgrade to the Gold Elite Plan. This plan appears to be over 55 miles/week which sounds daunting. I’m a little nervous about the commitment but at the same time… let’s gooo! I can’t wait to be at that point of training. This plan should take me through May, June, July, and August. Maybe I can get close to 17 minutes at this point? I have no idea. That might be ambitious. But at the same time… let’s gooo!
That leaves September, October, November, and December unplanned. I think I’ll decide on this over the summer. Maybe I’ll rerun the Gold Elite Plan at a higher VDOT? Maybe I’ll move onto Daniel’s 5k Specific training plan? We’ll see. The goal is consistency, focus, and effort. Let’s see if I can go a full year without missing a run. And let’s do it with the right intention and intensity based upon what the plan calls for. I’m looking forward to it.
Significant Health Improvements
Despite these running plans being fun, they’ve translated to significant health benefits that have me in the best shape ever. In one year of training, my body fat percentage has dropped from around 13% to 10.4%. My resting heart rate went from 55bpm to 48bpm at its lowest. While I don’t have an accurate measurement, my VO2max has increased. I’m excited to post on that soon. Last time I talked about maximum aerobic capacity, I was presenting my 7th grade Science Fair project that my dad basically did! Thanks Dad. And a whole host of other overall wellness biometrics have improved too. It’s why I’m convinced everyone should be training for something. Even if it’s just for life.